Justin Fields‘ epic performances for the Chicago Bears have captivated fantasy managers — and for good reason. Over the past five games, he has averaged 30.7 fantasy points, and Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, Fields tied Kyler Murray for the most consecutive games with both a passing and rushing touchdown in the Super Bowl era.
Unfortunately, the bigger concern is that Fields injured his non-throwing shoulder on the first play of the final drive of the game. His shoulder pain was so severe that he eventually had to be carted from the field, as his hamstrings were also bothering him. Fields’ mobility waned as the game progressed after he rushed 14 times in the first half — the highest total by any quarterback since 2000.
One positive was that Fields’ injured arm was not in a sling, but he will have an MRI on Monday. While we all keep an eye out for updates, it would be wise for fantasy managers to have a contingency plan in place for Week 12 when the Bears play against the Jets. With that in mind, here are some other QB options to consider if you have Fields on your roster:
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (55.5%): The veteran quarterback’s fantasy value has improved because he has finally gotten in sync with WR Davante Adams. Carr has scored 18-plus fantasy points in three consecutive games, including a 20-point performance against the Broncos’ stout defense on Sunday. He has a great matchup against the Seahawks next week. Over the past month, quarterbacks have averaged 15.5 fantasy points against Seattle’s defense. That provides Carr with a high floor, but in my opinion, his ceiling could be even higher.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (44.9%): Garoppolo and the 49ers still have to play tonight, but entering the day, he had scored 16 fantasy points in all but one of his games. The 49ers’ upcoming schedule is very favorable for Garoppolo and should have fantasy managers salivating. Playing for a San Francisco offense that now includes Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, Garoppolo is well positioned for success.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Commanders (23.7%): Heinicke is now expected to retain the Commanders’ starting job, and it’s no surprise, as he has revitalized this offense. While Heinicke didn’t have to do much against the Texans on Sunday because Washington built a safe lead, a matchup in Week 12 against a Falcons defense that has allowed 19.7 QB fantasy points per game is, ahem, too good to pass up.
Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts (8.0%): The Colts and interim head coach Jeff Saturday have given Ryan another opportunity to start. Over the past two games, Ryan has accumulated only 31.3 fantasy points, but most importantly, he hasn’t thrown any interceptions. In Week 12, he’s a great streamer against a Steelers defense that is allowing 20.7 QB fantasy points per game.
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns (36.0%): Watson served an 11-game suspension without pay after he was accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. He was deemed to have violated the league’s personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault, as defined by the NFL, on massage therapists. He was also fined $5 million and has had to undergo a mandatory treatment program. He will be eligible to return in Week 13 and is expected to start against the Texans, making him an option for anyone lacking a “set it and forget it” QB option, as well as being a potential insurance policy for fantasy managers in 12-to-14-team leagues (just in case their current starting quarterback misses time). Watson has averaged 22.7 fantasy points per game over his career and could quickly work his way into the streaming/starter conversation.
Let’s take a look at our recommended Week 12 ESPN Fantasy waiver-wire adds at the other skill positions.
Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs (43.7%): Pacheco rushed for a career-high 107 yards on 15 attempts against the Chargers, becoming the first Chiefs running back to eclipse 100 rushing yards this season. Jerick McKinnon ran 21 routes, handling most of the passing-down work. The Chiefs could lean on Pacheco even more with Clyde Edwards-Helaire now sidelined by a high ankle sprain. Kansas City’s upcoming schedule is very favorable for running backs, starting in Week 12, when Pacheco will sit firmly on the RB2 radar.
Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34.4%): Because the Buccaneers had a bye in Week 11, White is still available in a high percentage of ESPN leagues. In Week 10 against the Seahawks, White started over Leonard Fournette. After Fournette left that game with a hip injury, White played on 20 of a possible 25 snaps, with Ke’Shawn Vaughn occasionally replacing him. He finished the game with 105 rushing yards. Even with Fournette looking likely to be able to play in Week 12 against the Browns, I expect White to retain his starting role. At the very least, the rookie needs to be picked up in all fantasy leagues.
Latavius Murray, Denver Broncos (34.2%): Murray finished with 72 total yards and a touchdown on 21 touches against the Raiders on Sunday. He scored a season-high 17.2 fantasy points. Melvin Gordon III, who lost a fumble on the goal line — his third lost fumble of the season — was actually waived on Monday. Murray should dominate touches moving forward, as Chase Edmonds is suffering from a high ankle sprain.
Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (3.8%): Joe Mixon left Sunday’s game with a concussion and must be cleared from the league’s concussion protocol to play against the Titans on Sunday. Perine more than filled the void for the Bengals against the Steelers, rushing for 30 yards on 11 attempts and adding four receptions for 52 yards and three touchdowns. Perine became the first Bengals running back in team history with three TD receptions in a single game. If Mixon can’t play, Perine can be viewed as a volume-based RB2 against a stout Titans defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest RB fantasy points.
Quick hits: The Rams have one of the most confusing backfields in the league, but Cam Akers (43%) did have a team-high 14 rushing attempts and 61 yards on Sunday against the Saints. Kyren Williams (11.6%) led the Los Angeles backfield with 24 routes run. … In both of his past two games, Gus Edwards (43.5%) has had double-digit rushing attempts and 60-plus rushing yards. … James Cook (20.8%) had the best game of his young career with 86 rushing yards on 11 attempts. However, he played only 16 snaps. Since the Bills also have Nyheim Hines on their roster, Cook is just a deeper-league stash.
Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers (55.8%): In Week 10 against the Cowboys, Watson scored three touchdowns, and last Thursday against the Titans, he scored two more. Over the Packers’ past two games, Watson has scored 53.8 fantasy points. Green Bay should continue to make Watson a focal point of its offensive game plan moving forward, and the Packers’ upcoming schedule is very favorable for wide receivers. Fantasy managers should certainly pick Watson up.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns (38.5%): Peoples-Jones continues to provide fantasy managers with a high floor. With a season-high 17.1 fantasy points against the Bills on Sunday, Peoples-Jones has had five consecutive games with double-digit fantasy points. In that time frame, he has accumulated 30 targets, and an upgrade at the QB position looms in Cleveland.
Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans (22.7%): Burks had eight targets and 18.1 fantasy points Thursday night against the Packers, both career highs, despite his playing on only 50% of the offensive snaps. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Robert Woods both ran 27 routes compared to 21 for Burks, who has accumulated 14 targets since returning from IR following his foot injury. He can be viewed as a weekly flex option.
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (21.5%): Wan’Dale Robinson has a torn ACL, making Slayton a candidate for a bigger role in the Giants’ offense. Slayton has scored at least 11 fantasy points in four consecutive games. Slayton had double-digit targets for the first time this season against the Lions.
Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs (16.3%): Injuries are devastating the Chiefs’ WR room. A hamstring injury forced Kadarius Toney from Sunday’s game against the Chargers, Mecole Hardman is on IR and JuJu Smith-Schuster is still in the league’s concussion protocol. In the second half, Moore became the team’s No. 3 receiver. Justin Watson led all Chiefs wide receivers with 67 yards, but Moore was not far behind him with 63. As the Chiefs take on the Rams in Week 12, it’s the perfect time to stash Moore.
Demarcus Robinson, Baltimore Ravens (0.6%): Robinson caught all nine of his targets for 128 yards on Sunday against the Panthers, leading the Ravens in targets, receptions and receiving yards. For fantasy managers, it’s Robinson who has emerged as Baltimore’s top receiver and not Devin Duvernay. The Ravens are tied for the sixth-most rushing attempts per game with 30.4, but Robinson can still be viewed as a flex option by fantasy managers.
Quick hits: Odell Beckham Jr. (29.9%) and the Giants could potentially reunite as a result of Robinson’s injury. He’s almost certain to sign somewhere. … Mack Hollins (9.8%) should be picked up in deeper formats, having scored 11-plus fantasy points in three out of his past five games. Against the Broncos on Sunday, Hollins ran the same number of routes as Adams. … In Week 11, Julio Jones (22.4%) scored a season-high 14.3 fantasy points. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in two of his past three games. Furthermore, Jones has scored a touchdown in two of his past three games. … Fantasy managers in deeper formats should also consider Jarvis Landry (30.6%). On Sunday, Landry scored 12.3 fantasy points against the Rams, his second-highest total of the season. … Against a Steelers defense that allows the most WR fantasy points per game, Parris Campbell (53.0%) is also a flex option in deeper formats.
Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos (49.5%): Considering how favorable the matchup was heading into the game, Dulcich’s fantasy performance against the Raiders was disappointing. Since Week 6 when he was activated from IR, he has had a total of 26 targets. In three of his five games, Dulcich has four-plus receptions.
Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints (19.2%): A TD-dependent tight end, Johnson has scored 12-plus fantasy points in four out of his past five games and has averaged 11.3 yards per reception. He’s also found the end zone in five consecutive games. You could do worse than Johnson, especially given how desolate the TE landscape is in fantasy.
Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders (6.5%): On Sunday, Thomas caught 5 of 6 targets for 65 yards against the Texans. The Commanders had a sizable league for much of the game, so while he played on 67.6% of snaps, he ran only 19 routes. If you’re in need of a streamer in Week 12 when the Commanders take on the Falcons, you should consider Thomas.